A Partnership of Management, Science and Outreach
UI joins Nature Conservancy, Wood River Land Trust in collaboration on Rock Creek Ranch project
A new collaboration is building good science and best practices for Idaho’s rangeland owners and managers in south-central Idaho.
The 10,400-acre Rock Creek Ranch near Hailey is owned by and the , and is managed to conserve the area’s grasslands and to prevent future development. The University of Idaho joined the two landowners this summer as the research and outreach arm of the three-pronged collaboration.
The first project is the Rock Creek Restoration and Reconnection Project, intended to improve water quality, stream function and provide fish passage between Rock Creek and the lower Big Wood River. A second phase of the project, addressing the needs of the northern part of the ranch, is slated for 2017.
A $1.1 million project is planned to improve riparian areas, wet meadows, and fish and wildlife habitat. It would also address recreational elements and public access.
Grazing management is a key component of the future of the property, which hosts 150 cows from the UI Nancy M. Cummings Research Extension and Education Center at Salmon. The UI Rangeland Center is leading the grazing management research in its mission to provide science-based answers for supporters such as the Idaho Cattle Association and the broader public.
UI research will encompass the many aspects of the watershed — including wildlife habitat, water quality, grazing and more. The ranch has sage grouse, pygmy rabbits and elk, among other species.